Choosing A Contractor
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST RADON ABATEMENT CONTRACTOR?
(Hint: It’s us!)
- If the price seems too good to be true — YOU’RE RIGHT!
Legitimate radon contractors are rarely more than $50-$100 dollars apart in their prices. Performing radon mitigation correctly is often difficult work, but there are ample opportunities to cut corners in ways that a homeowner might never discover. For example, in a house with no gravel under the slab, the size, number and placement of the holes the mitigator digs under the floor will directly affect how low your post-mitigation radon levels are. One small hole may get you down to 3.8 pCi/L but two larger holes might have gotten you down to below 1.5 pCi/L! The homeowner often does not know if the contractor spent 20 minutes digging these holes or three hours. We never cut corners. We spend hours digging holes that some companies spend minutes on. We always install the neatest, least obtrusive and most effective radon systems possible.
- Will The Contractor Provide A Free, Written Estimate?
Contractors should always provide estimates in writing. The paperwork should include their credentials (i.e. certifications) and license information. Simple houses with unfinished spaces in optimal locations of the house can easily be estimated by phone. We always provide written proposals with specific designs, for a fixed price, with guaranteed results. More complicated houses are usually estimated on-site, when located within a reasonable distance from our base in Silver Spring, MD.
- Look At The Contract Carefully.
Is there a clear, unambiguous warranty? How long does it last? Is it transferable? Is there any hidden fine print stating that you’ll have to pay to have any required modifications or additions required for the system? We warranty our system’s effectiveness unconditionally for the life of the structure! All system components carry a 1 year labor warranty, and our fans carry a five-year manufacturer’s warranty. Our estimate is also our warranty, one sheet of paper — no fine print.
- Ask Where The Contractor Received Their Training, Testing And Certification.
Certification and training is now done by The National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) or The National Radon Safety Board (NRSB). Training and testing used to be done by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), but no longer is. Ask to see current proof of certification. Many states also require that radon contractors be licensed. Maryland and Virginia require this. The District of Columbia does not. Contractors should also be fully insured and bonded. We were originally trained and tested by the EPA, and are certified by both NEHA and NRSB. We are licensed in Maryland and Virginia. We are fully insured and bonded.
- Will The Contractor Be Adhering To The EPA Radon Mitigation Standards (RMS) As Well As All State And Local Codes?
These regulations are in place for good reasons, and failure to follow them can sometimes lead to grave safety consequences and may even increase the level of radon in a home. For example, many contractors place their vent outlet next to windows, below overhangs or halfway up the side of a house. This can lead to concentrated radon re-entering the house! The RMS specifies that vent outlets be 2 ft. above any windows that are less than 10 ft. away, AND above the roofline. While it is often difficult and time consuming to follow the RMS and local codes, they are in place for a reason, so we follow them.
- Will The Contractor Properly Perform Diagnostic Tests Before He Begins Your Job if Necessary?
Although it is not usually necessary, occasionally we find that in order to properly design a radon system diagnostic testing is needed. Usually this testing involves applying suction to a one inch test hole to see if there is air movement at a series of small half inch test holes drilled in various parts of the slab. If we detect pressure changes at all the small hole locations when suction is applied to the large test hole, then the radon system can be placed at the location of the large hole. If not then a new location for the system (or a second suction point) must be considered. This diagnostic work is done whenever there is significant doubt that the vacuum created by the radon system is extended sufficiently across the slab. We perform on-site diagnostics whenever necessary and design our systems accordingly.
- What Happens After The Installation?
You need proof that your radon levels were lowered. Your mitigator should either give you a sealed short-term test for you to deploy (wait 48 hours) or arrange to have an independent testing company come and retest your house. He should not do the testing himself! It is a blatant conflict of interest for a mitigator to also do testing. If the customer is not in a home sale situation, we provide a sealed test kit they can deploy 48 hours after our mitigation. These kits include prepaid postage and independent lab analysis. We will gladly put you in touch with several independent testing companies if you want professional verification of our work. We also encourage all of our clients to perform long term follow-up testing. Long-term testing (minimum 90 days) during the winter, will prove your system’s effectiveness during the period of greatest potential radon entry into your home. Every home should also be retested every two years.